Competing in only his third World Cup event, the teenager showed just how much potential and ability he has by securing the second fastest qualifying time before making it through to the quarter finals.
Riding with maturity well above his years and international experience, Hughes finished 17th overall, signaling a bright future.
The final race of the season, a double header in the Italian resort, saw Germany’s Konstantin Schad in first place, ahead of Russia’s Andrey Boldykov and Lluis Marin Tarroch from Andorra in third.
Australian Institute of Sport snowboard cross head coach Ben Wordsworth was one of the many who have been watching Hughes progress during the last few weeks.
“He was very good out there, but he was competing with many strong and experienced riders,” Wordsworth said.
“Making it to the quarter finals and doing what he did in qualifying shows that he definitely has potential for the future.
“Being passed by David Speiser in the quarter final was just a lack of experience.”
Another Australian teenager, Belle Brockhoff, has also wound up the season with an encouraging 17th place behind winner Jacqueline Hernandez from the United States, Frenchwoman Nelly Loccoz Moenne and Brittish rider Zoe Gillings.
In other results for Australian athletes, NSW Institute of Sport athlete Cam Bolton finished 40th after qualifying 47th but went out in the first round. Andy Fischer was 50th and Daniel Morrissy finished 55th.
Australia’s reigning world champion Alex “Chumpy” Pullin did not race today due to a fall in qualifying during which he sustained a minor concussion, bringing his frustrating season to an end.